Food differences in food are still high in Norway and Sweden, as our cross-border trade test shows.
(Nortby-Center / Netavision) – I think I’m saving between 500 1,500 and க் 2,000 for Christmas shopping here, says Norwegian Pippi Heller, when Netavicen met her at the Norby supermarket.
Video: This is why they shop in Sweden
The online newspaper travels to the Nordby Supermarket south of Svinesund in Sweden. Here we have compared the shopping basket of 63 items with the lowest priced chains in Norway.
The result shows a very significant price difference. A shopping cart for 4,000 kroner in Norway is less than 1,250 kroner in Sweden – the price difference is 45 percent.
Read below for the full price test case
Food is three to two times more expensive in Norway
The biggest price difference is in the pastrami – in Norway the price per 100g is three times higher with topping. Baked sausages are 35 kroner cheaper per kilo in Sweden.
Sweden has large sums to store in sweets, cheese, pork, cold cuts and other meat products. But you can also save money on milk, washing powder, coffee, tea, olive oil and toothpaste.
Our price survey shows that 53 out of 63 items charge extra – and this is more than twice the price of a quarter of the items in our basket in Norway.
On average, the price of the 53 most expensive items in Norwegian grocery stores is up 69 percent, corresponding to NOK 70 per item.
Online newspaper price survey shows:
- Shopping Basket 1256 kroner cheaper in Sweden.
- Total in Norway 4053.61 kroner – Sweden 2797 kroner.
- The price of 1 of the 4 items in the shopping cart doubles.
- 12 items were two or three times more expensive when purchased in Norway.
- The price of items in the shopping cart is 45 percent higher than the total in Norway.
- There is an additional charge of up to NOK 122 per item.
- Out of a total of 63 products, 53 get extra price – an average of NOK 70 per item.
- There are huge differences in the prices of meat, cheese, coffee, tea, washing powder and olive oil.
– This is as expected, and shows that prices in Sweden are similar to Eurostat’s price calculations against Norwegians, says Ivar Gaasland, socio – economist and associate professor at BI.
Eurostat is the European Union’s Central Statistics Office. The agency conducts an annual price survey between member states and non-EU member states. A survey conducted in 2018 showed that food prices in Norway are 40 percent higher than in Sweden.
– The economist says that the findings of the online newspaper follow previous studies on price differences in the grocery industry.
– There are competitive issues in Norway’s entire value chain
Nettavisen recently revealed that despite the fact that we now have tax cuts and lower prices for beverages and chocolates, the price of soft drinks in Norway is on average 67 percent higher. Treats and chocolates are available at half price on the border.
This is despite the fact that Norway’s special sugar tax was removed last year with the aim of slowing cross-border trade. Gaasland insists that Norway has restricted customs protection for food products that can be produced in Norway.
– The economist explains that some price gap between Norway and Sweden can be explained by the tax on imported goods of 200 to 400 percent.
He points to the Norwegian tariff rate on imported white cheese, which is 227 percent. A cheese for 100 kroner will then receive an additional charge of 227 kronor at customs. In addition, there is VAT, which is lower in Sweden than in Norway.
Norway’s self-produced goods such as meat, dairy products, grains or fruits and vegetables are subject to this customs protection.
In Sweden, on the other hand, all such goods may be freely imported under the EU Free Trade Agreement and are not subject to any trade restrictions.
Gaasland, however, insists that Eurostat has revealed significant price differences for goods that are not subject to customs duties. The price check of an online newspaper, for example, shows price differences of up to 60 percent in twinning tea.
– There are competition issues in the whole value chain in Norway, but import security on food is still a problem, he says.
Gaasland believes there is reason to question why Norwegian grocery stores sell goods that are not affected by customs protection at higher prices than Sweden.
– More expensive to produce Norwegian food
Petter Haas Brubak, CEO of NHO Mat og Drikke, emphasizes that spending is higher in Norway than in Sweden.
– Sweden, among other things, has lower food VAT and lower prices. He tells Netavicen that this continues to create challenges in cross-border trade.
Food VAT in Norway is 15 percent – in Sweden 12. Thus, food VAT in Norway is 25 percent higher than in Sweden.
Brubakk insists that higher fees in Norway affect store prices. At the same time, he believes that the grocery industry in Sweden should be aware of both competition and price and choice.
He also points out that geographical conditions have an impact on prices for consumers.
– We have different and more expensive infrastructure, with many and small shops. Despite being half the population, we still have plenty of stores like Sweden.
– They shop more than ever
Göran Lundgren is the Operations Manager at Grensemat AB. The company is behind the supermarkets, Maximat Nordby Svinesund and Nordby Supermarket.
Prior to the outbreak, the three stores mentioned had 5 million visitors a year, with a total turnover of 2.7 billion Swedish kronor. Nordby Supermarket alone received SEK 1.2 billion in turnover.
Lundgren tells Nettavisen that 80 percent of the customer base has now returned.
– Due to the closed borders in January and June, we will not achieve the same revenue as before the Corona epidemic, Lundgren tells Nettavisen, but when customers first make the trip to the border shops, they insist on shopping more than before. On average, customers shop for NOK 800.
Lundgren says prices at Norby Svinesund are a combination of advertising and fixed prices.
– We follow, the goal is that we should always be very competitive compared to Norwegian grocery prices.
One of the main reasons why border shops are so cheap is that they buy many product groups directly from the manufacturers. Thus, they avoid the expensive wholesale intermediaries of many production groups. Only in campaigns where the price is too low will the store lose money on a product group.
– How representative are the prices in Nordby compared to other parts of Sweden?
– We are committed to providing customers with a large, well stocked shopping cart at a lower price than other parts of Sweden. In addition, he says that many Norwegian traditional brands such as Freya, Pigeland, Staubret, Krillstadt are very cheap in Sweden.
Lundgren says they still have good profits on these products.
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